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Social Democrats make gains as Liberals, DF lose ground in Denmark’s municipal elections

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Social Democrats make gains as Liberals, DF lose ground in Denmark’s municipal elections
Copenhagen Lord Mayor Frank Jensen was re-elected on a good night for Social Democrats across Denmark. Photo: Gregers Tycho/Polfoto/Ritzau
10:42 CET+01:00
Denmark’s centre-right Liberal (Venstre) party and the nationalist Danish People’s Party (DF) appear to have lost significant support in municipalities throughout the country in local elections on Tuesday.

With all votes now counted, the Social Democrats have made a 2.9 percent overall gain in voter share, while the Liberals and DF went backwards by 3.5 and 1.3 points respectively on their 2013 shares, reports broadcaster DR.

The Liberals’ 23.1 percent of all votes – down from 26.6 percent in 2013 – translates to a reduction from 767 to 688 municipal seats, according to DR’s figures.

Despite the apparent election defeat, Liberal Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said on Tuesday night that he was satisfied with the result.

“Everything suggests that we have had a sound election, roughly at the same level we had last time, where we got around a quarter of the votes. I am very satisfied with that,” the PM said according to DR.

Nationalist party DF also saw a significant fall in voting share on the 2013 elections, falling from 10.1 to 8.8 points and seeing its position as the country’s third largest municipal party taken by the Conservatives in the process.

The party appears unlikely to gain any of the mayoral positions it had targeted, including in Guldborgsund, Assens and Hvidovre.

DF parliamentary group leader Peter Skaarup told DR he was nevertheless satisfied with the result.

“It was a good election for us, but of course it could have been better. We still have a base all around in more or less all municipalities,” Skaarup said.

The Social Democrats moved from 29.5 to 32.45 points and saw support grow in over 50 of Denmark’s 98 municipalities, reports DR.

The party remains strongest in larger cities and in and around Copenhagen.

“It appears that we will get over the line with a gain in mayoral positions. It appears we will not only be the largest party but also see excellent growth,” Social Democrat leader Mette Frederiksen told DR.

In Copenhagen, Social Democrat lord mayor Frank Jensen was re-elected while the Alternative party also gained its first mayoral position.

Though the Social Democrat campaign in the city was troubled by Jensen’s concessions over building on the Amager Fælled natural area, the Mayor secured his position for another four years after reaching agreement with other elected officials at Copenhagen’s Rådhuset city hall, reports Politiken.

That agreement also gave the green Alternative party, which was founded in 2013, its first ever mayoral position within Denmark’s largest municipality, while DF lost its only mayoral spot, according to the report.

“All parties have signed the same agreement on election night. This is huge,” Jensen told Politiken.

Copenhagen’s municipality has six mayoral positions in addition to the post of Lord Mayor which was retained by Jensen. The junior mayors head the city’s various committees, which administer areas including technology and the environment, culture and leisure, and children and youth issues.

Alternative’s lead candidate in Copenhagen Niko Grünfeld will take the Culture and Leisure committee mayoral post, according to Politiken’s report.

In second city Aarhus, the Social Democrats also had a successful evening, with the party's sitting lord mayor Jacob Bundsgaard re-elected.

“First and foremost, I’m delighted by the excellent results the parties have had. I also think we have had a very fair and sensible election campaign in Aarhus, and that applies to all parties. That, I think, deserves appreciation,” Bundsgaard told TV2 Østjylland.

READ MORE: The Local's coverage of the 2017 municipal and regional elections

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